Good morning on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, a Hump Day, or, as they say in Arabic: يوم الحدبة. It’s National Peach Cobbler Day, a treat you’re most likely to find in the American South, as well as Holy Wednesday (clearly we’re coming up on Easter), Scrabble Day, and Thomas Jefferson Day.
Wine of the Day: As I keep saying, there’s great value for money in Rioja, and even at higher price points, like this one ($35), you can get wines that are world class: the equivalent of a $100 bottle of Bordeaux.
This Rioja, had with my first T-bone dinner since I returned (Monday, with second half consumed Tuesday), is from R. Lopez Heredia, and the bottling is in the review below. Note the grape composition, typical of Rioja, and the fact that it was aged in oak for six years before bottling. Robert Parker gives it a tremendous score of 95, and you can see other laudatory reviews here and here. I knew the wine would be good if properly aged? Had it been? Yes, and it has years to go. Parker review below:
The red flagship 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva was inspired by the vineyards of the Médoc but produced with local grapes, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, which achieved 13% alcohol in 2006. It always matures in used American oak barriques for some six years. The oldest of all the reds I tasted, it was also the one with more freshness, which speaks to the quality of the vineyard. This takes the lion’s share of the 400,000 bottles the winery produces, with some 220,000 bottles filled over a period of 12 consecutive days in May 2014
This was a spectacular bottle (sadly, my last, though I have a 2010). I decanted it because I expected a sediment, but there wasn’t any. The aroma of spice and fruit (cherries at first) leaped from the glass, and I had to ration myself. After dinner, I poured myself a glass, put it by my chair, and sipped it occasionally while reading. It just got better and better over two hours, and eventually assumed a fragrance of strawberries. It was smooth but robust: a great specimen of the heavy genre of Riojas. I was very sad to take the last sip, but as I write this on Tuesday, I have half a bottle left. Stay tuned. . .
The second half was marginally worse than the first, as the fruit had attenuated a bit and the tannins relatively more dominant. It was still a great tipple, but yesterday’s ration palpably better. Is this wine worth the money? To me it surely was, but your mileage may vary.
Stuff that happened on April 13 includes:
- 1699 – The Sikh religion was formalised as the Khalsa – the brotherhood of Warrior-Saints – by Guru Gobind Singh in northern India, in accordance with the Nanakshahi calendar.
Do you know the “five Ks”—the five items that all pious Sikhs must wear at all times? If not, go here.
- 1742 – George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah makes its world premiere in Dublin, Ireland.
- 1861 – American Civil War: Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederate forces.
- 1873 – The Colfax massacre, in which more than 60 black men are murdered, takes place.
- 1943 – World War II: The discovery of mass graves of Polish prisoners of war killed by Soviet forces in the Katyń Forest Massacre is announced, causing a diplomatic rift between the Polish government-in-exile in London and the Soviet Union, which denies responsibility.
For years the Soviet Union blamed this on the Germans, but finally admitted it in 2004, but denying it was a war crime. Over 22,000 people were killed. Here’s a view of the exhumed bodies:
- 1943 – The Jefferson Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C., on the 200th anniversary of President Thomas Jefferson‘s birth.
Sometimes I wonder how long it will be until they tear this memorial down. I used to walk there (a several hour hike) from my childhood home in Arlington, Virginia.
- 1958 – American pianist Van Cliburn is awarded first prize at the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
Here’s a short video report about Van Cliburn and his win, and the entire final concert (Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1;38 minutes) is on YouTube (no video) here. Van Cliburn was only 23.
- 1964 – At the Academy Awards, Sidney Poitier becomes the first African-American male to win the Best Actor award for the 1963 film Lilies of the Field.
Here’s Poitier getting his Oscar: he gives a short speech and tears up a bit. Thankfully, there’s no mention of being “a credit to my race”.
- 1976 – The United States Treasury Department reintroduces the two-dollar bill as a Federal Reserve Note on Thomas Jefferson‘s 233rd birthday as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.
Why don’t we see more of these bills. They would be useful!
- 1997 – Tiger Woods becomes the youngest golfer to win the Masters Tournament.
Here’s a documentary of Woods’s victory: he was ust 21, but won by 12 shots.
- 2017 – The US drops the largest ever non-nuclear weapon on Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.
The bomb (below) was called MOAB, which stood for GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, but that’s been modified to “Mother of All Bombs”:
And look at this blast when it was dropped in Afghanistan. You can see a test video of the bomb as it was dropped with the help of a parachute at this site.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1519 – Catherine de’ Medici, Italian-French wife of Henry II of France (d. 1589)
- 1570 – Guy Fawkes, English soldier, member of the Gunpowder Plot (probable; d. 1606)
- 1743 – Thomas Jefferson, American lawyer and politician, 3rd President of the United States (d. 1826)
Here’s one image of what Jefferson might look like today:
- 1866 – Butch Cassidy, American criminal (d. 1908)
Here he is with the Wikipedia caption “Butch Cassidy poses in the Wild Bunch group photo, Fort Worth, Texas, 1901″
- 1906 – Samuel Beckett, Irish novelist, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1989)
- 1906 – Bud Freeman, American saxophonist, composer, and bandleader (d. 1991)
- 1909 – Eudora Welty, American short story writer and novelist (d. 2001)
- 1919 – Madalyn Murray O’Hair, American activist, founded American Atheists (d. 1995)
- 1924 – Jack T. Chick, American author, illustrator, and publisher (d. 2016)
You’ve seen Chick’s anti-evolution and pro-Jesus pamphlets, right? I’ve been given many. A snippet:
Here’s the “evolution professor” getting pwned by a religious student in the most famous Chick cartoon about evolution:
- 1939 – Seamus Heaney, Irish poet and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2013)
Those who went to the Great Beyond on April 13 include:
- 1917 – Diamond Jim Brady, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1856)
Brady, below, was famous for his appetite, but I still can’t believe he could eat all this stuff. From Wikipedia:
Brady’s enormous appetite was as legendary as his wealth, though modern experts believe it was greatly exaggerated. It was not unusual, according to the legend, for Brady to eat enough food for ten people at a sitting. George Rector, owner of a favorite restaurant, described Brady as “the best 25 customers I ever had”. For breakfast, he would eat “vast quantities of hominy, eggs, cornbread, muffins, flapjacks, chops, fried potatoes, beefsteak, washing it all down with a gallon of fresh orange juice”. A mid-morning snack would consist of “two or three dozen clams or Lynnhaven oysters”. Luncheon would consist of “shellfish…two or three deviled crabs, a brace of boiled lobsters, a joint of beef, and an enormous salad”. He would also include a dessert of “several pieces of homemade pie” and more orange juice. Brady would take afternoon tea, which consisted of “another platter of seafood, accompanied by two or three bottles of lemon soda”. Dinner was the main meal of the day, taken at Rector’s Restaurant. It usually comprised “two or three dozens oysters, six crabs, and two bowls of green turtle soup. Then in sumptuous procession came six or seven lobsters, two canvasback ducks, a double portion of terrapin, sirloin steak, vegetables, and for dessert a platter of French pastries.” Brady would even include two pounds of chocolate candy to finish off the meal.
- 1956 – Emil Nolde, Danish-German painter and educator (b. 1867)
Here’s a fine Emil Nolde painting: “Exotic Figures II” (1911)
- 1993 – Wallace Stegner, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1909)
- 2015 – Günter Grass, German novelist, poet, playwright, and illustrator, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1927)
Yes, Grass was a member of the Waffen-SS during WWII, but I love his books, and he did spend a lot of his writing trying to get Germany to own up to its Nazi past.
*It’s bad news everywhere—for Ukraine, for America, and for the Democrats and Biden.
*Below the headline from this morning’s NYT about Ukraine, though the top left spot is about the New York subway shooter, who injured 23 (but fortunately killed nobody) in a gun + smoke-grenade attack on a Brooklyn subway Tuesday. there is a “person of interest”, which hasn’t yet been upgraded to “suspect”:
The police on Tuesday evening identified a man they called a “person of interest” in the mass shooting, one of the worst outbreaks of violence in the subway in recent history. The man, Frank R. James, 62, was not named as a suspect, but the authorities said that people should call with any information they had on Mr. James.
The war news; click on screenshot to read:
And the NYT’s summary under that header:
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on Wednesday praised President Biden for accusing Russia of committing genocide in Ukraine, describing the remarks as “true words of a true leader,” as investigators accelerated their efforts to collect evidence of alleged Russian atrocities outside Kyiv.
French forensic investigators joined Ukrainian authorities working to exhume bodies from mass graves in the northern town of Bucha, where hundreds were found after Russian forces withdrew, even as Ukraine was bracing for another Russian onslaught in the east.
Satellite images released on Wednesday offered new evidence that Russia is building up troops and military equipment for what analysts say could be a decisive battle in the region, with Russian tanks and artillery units seen moving on a highway near Kharkiv and positioned in fields and farms on the Russian side of the border.
In other news about the war, Biden, as noted above finally called the Russian acts a “genocide”, which it is since its aim is to wipe out Ukrainians, and it’s a genocide committed by a “dictator half a world away.” Them’s strong words, but them’s true words.
*In Afghanistan, the Taliban are busy executing former U.S. allies and government officials, despite their promise to be merciful. Did anybody really believe that then? Yes, some dupes did! They even thought the Taliban would, as they also promised, let women go to school. Another duping: Iran’s statement that it’s not trying to make a nuclear weapon.
*The rate of inflation in the U.S. hit a four-decade year high using the data from March, with a yearly rate of 8.9%—a number not seen since 1981. I’m sure most Americans, including me, have noticed the rise in prices, and it spells trouble for the Democrats come November. Biden has blamed it on the Ukraine, but American voters don’t believe that:
A poll released by Rasmussen Reports Monday found a similar trend.
“President Joe Biden’s policies have increased inflation, according to a majority of voters, who expect the issue to be important in November midterm elections,” Rasmussen said. “The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 64% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the policies of Biden’s administration have increased inflation, while only eight percent (8%) think Biden’s policies have reduced inflation. Another 25% say the Biden administration’s policies have not made much difference in inflation.”
*I’m not sure whether , given the war and inflation, border issues (assigned to be addressed by VP Kamala Harris, who hasn’t done squat) will play a role in the election, but if it does, it won’t help Democrats. Mark Thiessen, at least agrees. , In a column at the Washington Post called “Biden is turning the border crisis into an outright catastrophe,”
Democrats are poised to lose control of the House and Senate this November in no small part because of the crisis President Biden has unleashed on the southern border. Now, Biden is ready to double down on disaster by lifting Title 42 — the Trump-era public health order that allows border officials to turn away illegal migrants to prevent the spread of covid-19. If Biden does so, he will turn crisis into a catastrophe — both at the border and at the polls.
By lifting Title 42, the Biden administration is trying to have it both ways — declaring the pandemic emergency over for illegal migrants at the border, but not for the rest of us. If the pandemic emergency is over, why are they still insisting we wear masks on planes? Why are all lawful international air passengers still required to get a negative coronavirus test before entering the United States (while illegal border crossers are not)? And why, if the emergency is over, is the Biden administration asking Congress for billions of dollars in emergency covid spending? Democrats need to decide: Either we are in a covid emergency, or we are not.
. . . Biden has created the worst border crisis in U.S. history — and does not seem to care that he is about to make it worse. But voters do. A new Politico-Morning Consult poll finds that 56 percent of voters oppose ending Title 42, making it Biden’s “most unpopular decision so far.” Considering the fact that Biden’s approval is underwater on virtually every issue, that is saying something. And the decision will become even less popular when Americans see the debacle it produces.
I’m not sure whether this will be as big an issue for voters as, say, their pocketbooks (“It’s the economy, stupid”). But it irks me that Kamala Harris has done nothing tangible about this, given me, and many Americans, the idea that Democrats simply don’t care about enforcing immigration policy.
*This is a great idea, and I’m surprised that those wily, world-domineering Jews haven’t thought about it before: create and promulgate a “Palestine Apartheid Week” to advertise which faction is the real “apartheid state.”
A pro-Israel student group is going on the offensive by tabling at multiple campuses across the United States, highlighting systemic discrimination against Jews in Palestinian-controlled territories such as the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the first time ever in what the group is calling “Palestinian Apartheid Week.”
Students Supporting Israel (SSI) has visited three college campuses throughout the country since March 21, highlighting the realities college students rarely confront about the Palestinian-controlled territories.
Issues like salaries paid to the families of Palestinian terrorists for killing Jews as part of a policy called “pay for slay;” the Palestinian Authority making it illegal to sell property to Jews; Jews not being able to openly pray at holy sites in the Palestinian territory unless accompanied by security; erasing the existence of Jews from Palestinian textbooks and maps; as well as Hamas’s charter calling for the killing of all Jews.
Not to mention Jews not being allowed to even live in the Palestinian Territories, much less the discrimination in Palestine (but not Israel) against women, apostates, and gays.
*I recently wrote about new evidence that the ivory-billed woodpecker is still with us. We can’t be even relatively certain, though: a lot more evidence is needed. The Guardian’s experts, though, tend to believe (as do I) that the bird is still with us. I love the last line here:
“No one has held a camera and got a picture of one in years because it’s a scarce bird in tough swampy habitat and they don’t want people close to them because they’ve been shot at for 150 years,” said Geoffrey Hill, a biologist at Auburn University who took part in another, largely frustrating, trip to find the bird in Florida in 2005.
“They have better eyes than we do, they are high in the trees and actively flee people. They aren’t great thinkers but they have developed a pretty simple strategy to avoid people.”
Hill said Latta’s research was “very interesting” and that he thought it likely that the bird pictured is indeed an ivory-billed woodpecker. He added that the FWS was premature to decide the species was extinct and that several dozen could still be holding on in forests across the south.
“Some people cannot believe a bird can defy documentation by modern humans because we have such dominion over nature but it is endlessly interesting because if it has done that, it’s one pretty impressive bird,” Hill said.
“People who are into birds are fascinated by them. Ivory bills couldn’t care less, though. They hate all people.” (h/t: Trevor).
*From ZME Science: a rare giant bee has been rediscovered.
While working as a curatorial assistant at the American Museum of Natural History, Eli Wyman learned about a very unusual bee that was presumed to be extinct. The bee, Megachile pluto, also known as Wallace’s giant bee, is a massive unit. It is the largest bee in the world, four times larger than a honeybee and measuring about the length of a human thumb.
Huge mandibles hang like dastardly garden shears from its head. Or, at least, did — the bee hadn’t been seen alive since 1981 and was feared lost. “I just thought ‘someday I’ve got to go to look for this bee.’ It’s a sort of unicorn in the bee world,” Wyman says. “If you love bees, as I do,” he added, “this is the greatest possible adventure to have.”
They organized a small expedition to Indonesia, and then, on the last of five day of looking, found a nest of the giant bee in a termite colony, where these behemoths build a tubular, resin-lined nest. But they’re having trouble getting this rare bee protected by the Indonesian government, and worse: they found a specimen of the bee for sale on eBay!
Worse, knowledge of the bee’s existence lit up a murky corner of the internet that specializes in the trade of rare animals. Shortly after he got back to the U.S., Wyman saw that someone was trying to sell a specimen of the bee on eBay for a few thousand dollars — a tempting lure for the subsistence farmers and fishermen of North Maluku who could get a portion of this relative fortune.
The bee had become something unusual, a sort of rare trophy like an endangered rhino. This sometimes happens with insects: In Germany, a rare beetle named after Adolf Hitler was considered at risk of extinction more than a decade ago due to its soaring popularity as a collector’s item for neo-Nazis.
Here’s a photo of M. pluto next to a European honeybee:
*Finally, it was warm and sunny yesterday, and the turtles who vanished over the winter came out in force at Botany Pond:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili evinces her usual pessimism:
Hili: I see positive changes.A: Where?Hili: Only in the garden.
Hili: Dostrzegam pozytywne zmiany.Ja: Gdzie?Hili: Tylko w ogrodzie.
And here’s Karolina from Kyiv, making herself at home chez in Dobrzyn:
Kulka on the front steps:
From Lorenzo the Cat: a d*g fighting for freedom:
From Ginger K.:
From Su and Anna:
Sadly, God is mistaking cultural evolution with biological evolution. He knows better than that!
How can anyone looking at the state of the human species in 2022 honestly believe in evolution?
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) April 12, 2022
A tweet from Simon. Oy, are people mixed up about the CDC! Simon calls this “comic relief”, and it is, but these chowderheads also spreading dangerous information.
This is what ANTI-VAXXERS and Q-Anon mean by “dO yOuR oWn rESEArCh”.
Anti-Facters make amazing comedic partners. pic.twitter.com/qdOTqNDiU1
— Walter Masterson (@waltermasterson) April 12, 2022
Barry says, “I wonder what he’s drinking.” My guess is a piña colada:
Just keep scrolling. Nothing to see here. 🙊 pic.twitter.com/3LcsAWsF8o
— TG (@TG22110) April 11, 2022
From Ginger K.: What a clever idea!
Incredible Open Book Fountain pic.twitter.com/Nq9gqgzINd
— Physics & Astronomy Zone (@zone_astronomy) April 2, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
13 April 1943 | Ester Nina Aelion, a Greek Jewish girl, was murdered in #Auschwitz.
Ester was born in 1926 in Thessaloniki to Eliahu & Rakhel. She was among people selected by the SS doctors to be killed gas chambers immediately after the arrival of the transport.
She was 17. https://t.co/MaGs3YjNbw pic.twitter.com/K7YVOSYCba
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) April 13, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. This first one shows two people who are like halves of a critical nuclear mass: put them together and POW!
These two men must never, ever, meet. pic.twitter.com/lgNbyrjq5n
— Pulp Librarian (@PulpLibrarian) April 12, 2022
Matthew and I love stoats, and look at this family of seven gamboling about!
There are few things more joyful than watching young stoats at play. I managed to approach this family on the track at the bottom of our field and spent a happy hour with them 😊@BBCSpringwatch @YorksWildlife pic.twitter.com/bER7kr4RtX
— Yorkshire Eden (@SamanthaMay64) June 12, 2021
It will tear it apart later:
Osprey with a huge sunfish!!! #florida #fishing #birdphotography pic.twitter.com/U4M8qXJe4D
— Mark Smith Photography (@marktakesphoto) April 9, 2022
The answer’s in the thread:
#fun #QuizTime : Combien de papillons voyez-vous sur ces plantes?
How many butterflies do you see on these plants?#Insectarium pic.twitter.com/3rsovhzorG
— Julia J. Mlynarek 🦋🐛🐝🪰 (@JJMlynarek) April 8, 2022